Proinnsias Creedon June Update
- If not cut already, cut main crop silage as early as possible this month to maximise quality
- Calculate the ideal paddock size for your farm to ensure stock spend no more than 3 days per paddock
- Continue to take out strong paddocks for silage
- Weigh yearlings to monitor weight gain at grass
- Weight finishing stock to check performance
- Continue to draft cattle for slaughter as they come fit
Analyse your slurry to check nutrient content
- Use slurry sample results to target best slurry for lower index paddocks
- Ensure to top up paddocks with a compound where nutrients are low
- Spread slurry by LESS where possible
Ciarán measured grass on the farm on 9th June. There was a farm cover of 837 kg DM/ha, with a growth rate of 51 kg DM/ha and a demand of 42 kg DM/ha. There were 20 days of grass ahead. Based on this, 3 paddocks could be taken out for silage to reduce the pre-grazing yield to 1400 kg DM/ha (# 22A, 22B and 8A). This would leave a farm cover of 671 kg DM/ha, a growth rate of 38 kg DM/ha, demand of 42 kg DM/ha and 16 days ahead.
Proinnsias plans to cut his first cut silage in the coming week as soon as weather allows. This is important for making the best quality silage as most of these fields were not grazed in the spring.
Three paddocks were cut for silage on 3rd June and they averaged 9 bales of silage/acre (52 bales total).
There are currently 4 groups of stock grazing on the farm – 29 store cattle, 16 yearlings, 21 yearlings and 48 calves. Ideally cattle should only spend 3 days per paddock to avoid eating re-growths and maximise grass growth on the farm. For the 29 store cattle, their ideal paddock size is 0.6 ha (1.47 acres). The average size of Proinnsias’s paddocks on the farm is 0.62 ha which matches up very well. The average paddock size required for the 16 yearlings to graze covers of 1400 kg DM/ha in 3 days is 0.24 ha (0.6 acres) which means that cattle spend just under 8 days per paddock. The following options could help this:
- Group the 37 yearlings together to graze paddocks faster
- Split each paddock into 3 divisions and back fence to prevent grazing of regrowths
- Keep smaller bunches of stock on the smaller paddocks (0.3ha or 0.4ha)
The ideal paddock size for the calves is 0.31 ha (0.76 acres). Again the average paddock size on the farm is quite big for them and they would spend over 6 days grazing one paddock. This could be changed by splitting the paddocks in two, or by grazing them ahead of the store or yearling cattle. This would give them access to the best grass and the older cattle would clean off the fields better.
The recently purchased yearlings were weighed on 21st May and averaged 348 kg, having gained 1.18 kg/day since their previous weighing on 15th April.
The 2021 heifers were weighed on 21st and 24th May. They averaged 298 kg and gained 0.75 kg/day since 15th April.
The 2020 born heifers (27) averaged 446kg on 21st May, having gained 0.85 kg/day since 15th April. A further 4 finishing heifers averaged 562 kg, having gained 0.79 kg/day since 14th April.
Four heifers were slaughtered on 18th May. They made an average carcass weight of 291 kg, graded O+3= and averaged €1598/head at 25.8 months of age.
The slurry on the farm was tested this spring and the results were as follows;
|Sample||Dry Matter %||
|2 (Slatted Shed)||9.58||9.54||8.1||24.89|
This shows that the slurry on Proinnsias’s farm is an excellent source of nitrogen and phosphorus. As the nitrogen figures are quite high, it is important that this is spread through low emission slurry spreading where possible to reduce losses. In the absence of LESS, slurry should be spread on a dull, moist, calm day to minimise losses.
The potassium is a little lower than expected, and this should be considered when spreading on silage ground to ensure that the target of 100 units potassium/acre is met. It could either be spread after the crop is harvested or else 0.75 of a bag of muriate of potash could be spread per acre to replace potassium offtakes n lower index silage fields.